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Steampunk Digest - February 7, 2020

Our weekly roundup of news and other happenings in the steampunk world

Friday, February 7, 2020
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A message from the editor: If had written this early Wednesday, it would have been more dire than what you’re reading now. The Steampunk Explorer was in danger of shutting down due to a lack of funds to pay $350 in annual web-hosting fees, which are due Feb. 25. I launched a GoFundMe campaign, and thanks to the enormous generosity of steampunk enthusiasts around the world, the campaign surpassed its fundraising goal in a matter of hours.

Why the desperate financial straits? In May 2019, I was laid off from my day job as editor of a trade publication. I have not been able to find regular work since. Jobs for journalists are scarce, especially at my age (61), so my best recourse was freelance writing. Unfortunately, a new law in California known as AB5 has made this much more difficult (you can read why in this blog post on my personal website).

The Steampunk Explorer was never intended as a money-making venture. Until now, I’ve been funding it out of my own pocket, with an additional $60 per month from Patreon supporters. Startup costs were minimal because I performed all development and design work. But total expenses have amounted to about $3000.

The immediate crisis is over, but donations are still needed and appreciated. No donation is too small. If you enjoy the site and can help, please visit the GoFundMe page and give what you can.

Now back to our regular programming. . .

Iron Danger

Daedalic Entertainment and Action Squad Studios are planning a March 25 release for Iron Danger, a tactical combat video game. It’s set in a war-torn world they describe as a “fusion of Nordic mythology, steampunk, and tech noir. In order to save the city of Kalevala, you’ll have to find new companions, upgrade their abilities and understand that the river of time does not simply flow in one direction.”

The game features time-manipulation mechanics, allowing players to rewind the game action. It will be available for Windows PC via the Steam platform. See the website for more info.

Frenchy and the Punk, stalwarts of the steampunk music scene, have joined the legions of performing artists raising funds on Patreon. Benefits include exclusive video concerts, song previews, rehearsals, chats, guitar tutorials, MP3s, discount coupons, and more. They’re offering five tiers of membership, ranging from “Hand of the Batfrog” ($2.21/month) to “Spirit of the Batfrog” ($25.43/month). Learn more by visiting their new Patreon page.

World Weaver Press is now accepting submissions for Clockwork, Curses, And Coal: Steampunk and Gaslamp Fairy Tales, an anthology slated for publication in early 2021. “I want the bustles, parasols, high tea and airships, of course, but I also welcome stories which confront the darker, problematic side of Victorian sensibilities and attitudes,” writes anthologist Rhonda Parrish. “Plus fairy tales.”

They can be original fairy tales or retellings of familiar ones. “If you choose to retell a familiar favourite, make sure your story offers something new and interesting,” she writes. “I’d rather see stories that reflect the long history of fairy tales as social commentary than those which simply tell the same story with a different setting.”

Length can be up to 7500 words. Payment is one cent per word plus a contributor copy. Submissions are open until March 31. See the website for more info.

New Fiction

Iron Heart

Vulpine Press has released Iron Heart, a steampunk romance by Australian authors M.C. D’alton and Melanie Page. Set in 19th century Edinburgh, the story involves a doctor who turns to a young medical student to help save his son’s life. “But not everyone wants Beauden to survive, and it’s clear they’ll go to violent and destructive lengths to prevent his revolutionary treatment from going ahead,” we’re told. It’s Book 1 of a series dubbed Iron Universe.

The authors originally self-published the novel in 2018 with a different cover. Now they have a four-book deal with Vulpine Press. See their blog, Goodreads page, and Facebook page for more info.

UK author Anna Butler is out with The God’s Eye, Book 3 in the Lancaster’s Luck series featuring the adventures of ex-aeronaut Rafe Lancaster and Aegyptologist Ned Winter. The tales are set in turn-of-the-century alternate-world versions of London (Londinium) and Egypt (Aegypt). It’s available in e-book and paperback form. See the author’s website for more info.

Nita Round, another UK author, has released two prequels to her Towers of the Earth steampunk fantasy series: A Pinch of Salt and A Hint of Hope. The novellas feature the adventures of Magda Stoner and Ascara d’Jharaena ael Korphen in a fantasy world populated by pirates and slavers. The stories will be followed by re-edited re-releases of the four-book series with new titles and covers, beginning with Touch of Truth and Touch of Rage in March. See her website for more info.

Celine Jeanjean is out with The Shadow Palace: Sword and Steampunk, Book 6 her series The Viper and the Urchin. The stories involve the exploits of a streetwise pickpocket and an assassin with a fear of blood. The author says the stories will appeal to fans of Terry Pratchett and Lindsay Buroker. See her website for more info.

Crowdfunding

Antler Studios of Oxford, UK is seeking Kickstarter funding for Project Grove, a single-player 3D video game featuring “a legendary alchemist and their plucky robot companion questing to save humanity from a deadly disease.” A 20-minute demo is available for download from the Kickstarter page. The project began as a dissertation while the developers were students at Brunel University in London.

The campaign launched Jan. 28 and seeks £29,200 (US $37,903) by Feb. 29. See the website and Kickstarter page for more info.

Nathan Lueth of St. Paul, Minnesota is on Kickstarter with Impure Blood, Volume 1 of a four-part “steam-fantasy graphic novel about identity, heredity, magic and monsters.” It tells the story of Roan, an enslaved gladiator who carries the blood of an ancient mystical race. “He jumps at the prospect of freedom when a mysterious girl named Dara appears at his cell and offers him a chance at a new life in exchange for his help. Together with the aristocratic Caspian, roguish Elnor, and grease monkey Mac, they embark on a mission to track down an artifact that Dara believes may be connected to Roan’s ancient, Impure Blood.”

Along with wife Nadja, he’s been at work on the project since 2009. They’ve been producing it as a print-on-demand title, but now they’re planning a print run of 1000 hardcover copies.

The campaign launched Feb. 2 and seeks $7500 by March 4. See the Kickstarter page for more info.

Events

Whitby Steampunk Weekend is happening Feb 8-9 at the Whitby Pavilion in North Yorkshire. The program includes workshops, tea dueling, a costume exhibition, live entertainment, and more than 80 sellers of steampunk wares. The steampunk cabaret on Saturday evening will feature performances by Alice’s Night Circus, Biscuithead & The Biscuit Badgers, and Tenpole Tudor. It will be followed by a summer edition, July 24-26 in the same location. See the website for more info.

AnachroCon, a celebration of “history both real and imagined,” returns Feb 14-16 to the Hilton Atlanta Airport. It’s aimed at fans of steampunk, alternate history, historical re-enactment, and related genres. This year’s theme is “The Roaring 20’s.” Entertainment includes The T-Tones, a “tight-harmony female vocal trio,” and NeverMoore, a magic and mentalism duo. Bill Harrison of the Atlanta Steampunk Expo is organizing a teapot racing competition. The event also features games, a costume contest, and panel discussions. The program is available on the Facebook page.

13 Gears: An Eclectic Steampunk Event will take place Feb. 15-16 at the Grain Belt Bottling House Artist Building in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The program includes a costume contest, tea dueling, and music by Bad September and Kerri Joy. Tickets cost $10 per day. See the Facebook page for updates.

Top Stories

These were the most-viewed stories in January in The Steampunk Explorer:

Year in Review: Steampunk in the News

Steampunk Digest - January 10, 2020

2020 in Movies, Steampunk Edition

Steampunk Digest - January 3, 2020

A Steampunk Menagerie (The art of Tom Samui)

A Real-World Steampunk Explorer (Scientist Rose M. Jones)

Quick Hits

Big feature update for steampunk video game Volcanoids (GamingOnLinux)

Whitby Steampunk Weekend set to attract thousands - and there isn’t long to wait (Teesside Live)

New look for Isle of Wight’s Fort Victoria — with steampunk souvenirs, mermaid bay and a fire-breathing dragon (Isle of Wight County Press)

Doctor Who boss teases “irresistible” Mary Shelley and Lord Byron “ghost story” episode (Radio Times)

A steampunk production of ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ in Colorado (Longmont Times-Call)

25 Weird Old Predictions Made About the 21st Century (Mental Floss)

British ‘X-Files’ of UFO sightings is going public (LiveScience)

150-Million-Year-Old Squid Fossil With Pterosaur Tooth Embedded Shows Rare Failed Hunting Attempt (IFL Science)

Huge 300-Million-Year-Old Shark Skull Found Deep Inside An Underground Kentucky Cave (IFL Science)

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